Moment of Truth for the US Congress on Public Finance, Debt and the Biden Agenda

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An American flag flies outside the dome of the US Capitol in Washington, United States, January 15, 2020. REUTERS / Tom Brenner / File Photo

WASHINGTON, Sept.27 (Reuters) – The U.S. Congress faces a showdown on government spending and debt on Monday as pressure mounts on Democrats to pass a $ 1 trillion infrastructure bill dollars and resolve internal disputes to advance President Joe Biden’s broad social agenda.

The Senate will hold a procedural vote Monday night on legislation that has already been passed by the House of Representatives to fund the U.S. government until December 3 and suspend the country’s borrowing limit until the end of 2022.

If Republicans block the measure, as planned, that will only leave Democrats three days to find another way to keep the government in business beyond Thursday, when current funding expires.

Lawmakers will also need to find a way to raise the debt ceiling to head off the risk of default, with independent analysts warning that the US Treasury Department will likely completely exhaust its borrowing power between Oct. 15 and Nov. 4. read more

Democrats are keen to avoid such drama as they attempt to project their skills after four years of Republican Donald Trump’s chaotic presidency.

Meanwhile, House Democrats are embroiled in an internal struggle between moderates and progressives over the $ 1 trillion infrastructure bill and a larger $ 3.5 trillion social spending program. .

The split could risk derailing Biden’s national platform – and with him, his presidency and the party’s hopes of retaining its majorities in Congress in next year’s midterm election.

The House was originally scheduled to consider the infrastructure bill on Monday. But President Nancy Pelosi postponed the vote until Thursday to give more time to negotiate a deal on Biden’s broader social plan. She is due to chair a party caucus meeting on Monday night.

The infrastructure bill, which the moderators strongly favor, would fund projects for roads, bridges, airports, schools and others. It was passed in the Senate last month with considerable Republican support.

But Progressive Democrats have threatened to oppose the infrastructure measure unless moderates in the House and Senate agree to the larger package, which Democrats intend to pass without Republican votes via a process known as budget reconciliation.

Moderate Democrats consider the $ 3.5 trillion initial price tag for the reconciliation bill to be too high.

“We are making great strides on reconciliation,” Representative Josh Gottheimer, a prominent moderate House Democrat, told MSNBC. “We’re not there yet, but the bottom line is that we will … Both things matter.”

Pelosi and other Democrats predict the infrastructure bill will pass.

“Let me just say we are going to pass the bill this week,” she told ABC News “This Week” host George Stephanopoulos, speaking about the legislation that is key to the economic agenda of Biden. Read more

But the fate of Biden’s initiatives in everything from healthcare and education to tackling child poverty and climate change hangs in the balance as Democrats fight over the content and cost of the package. wider.

Democrats have argued over drug pricing provisions in the social spending plan, which they hope to pass with a narrow majority and without Republicans backing. Democratic leaders insist the measure will be funded by tax increases on corporations and the wealthy, which Republicans strongly oppose.

Reporting by Susan Cornwell; additional reports by David Morgan and Susan Heavey; Editing by Scott Malone, Andy Sullivan, Daniel Wallis and Dan Grebler

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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